The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Another SD Starter

esbkk's picture

Another SD Starter

Hi All -<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

I apologise in advance for using this forum as a shortcut ...

I live in Thailand with an average temperature of 30 C. with some cooler and some hotter days. Searching for my perfect loaf, I have baked a great number of small loaves of 30% rye and 70% wheat, always using 40% SD starter. The rye is stone ground dark rye imported from Australia and the wheat is also Australian hard wheat flour. Some changes are made using small quantities of barley, coarser bulgar
wheat, oat, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and others.

I have used the 100% rye and wheat starters, noticing only small differences; rye, slightly more sour perhaps, but I attributed these small differences to the other ingredients rather than the starters. The starters are nearly four months old and are being used when the peak.

Now, I have been told to make a starter consisting of 30% rye and 70% wheat flour, which would make a much better loaf. My insistence that the percentages remain the same in the dough was brushed aside.

Not wanting to go through all this again I wonder whether members have any comments. 


pmccool's picture

While many formulae call for a specific type of starter for a particular type of bread, the base type of starter with which you begin your builds is really of little consequence.

Let's say your normal starter is regularly fed with only AP flour and kept at 100% hydration.  The bread you wish to make calls for a rye starter and we will assume that the amount of starter required for the bread is 350 grams at 100% hydration.  If you take 20g of your all-AP starter, feed it with 40g water and 40g rye flour, you will have 100g of starter.  If you feed it again with 125g of water and 125g of rye flour, you will have the required 350g of starter.  Since it is at 100% hydration, it will consist of 175g water and 175g flour.  The flour will consist of the original 10g of AP flour (one half of the 20g you began with) and 165g of rye flour from the two feedings.  The 10g of AP flour in the original amount of starter will be negligible in comparison to the quantity of rye flour and won't have a material effect on the flavor, texture, or handling characteristics of the finished dough/bread.

If you keep a rye starter and a formula calls for a white starter, you can do exactly the same process but with different flours.  Just begin with a small quantity of your stock starter and use the required flours for the rest of the builds.

Some people enjoy maintaining multiple varieties of starters, since they do have different characteristics.  I'm more in favor of keeping things simple and find this approach gives me the desired results with a minimum of fuss.


esbkk's picture

Thanks Paul ... I am also in favour of keeping things simple and will from now just keep a 100% hydration rye mother/stock stater.